Since conveyor line implementation by Henry Ford, manufacturing process has become increasingly streamlined and automated. Today, one more trend has been added to this one - an increase in the number of operations within one specific machine or a automatic machine. Multi-axis CNC machines are capable of producing the most complex parts from one blank, industrial 3D printers make the same of metal powder. Modern industrial coating systems are one large conveyor at all - they are used in the manufacture of solar panels or, for example, energy-saving glass. The most advanced microelectronic «fabs» are almost completely robotized - if you load raw materials from one end of production (silicon disks, "wafers"), after a few months, processors almost ready for packaging will come out from the other side of the plant. Complete robotization allows you to avoid human intervention, i.e., protect the premises from dust and other contaminants, and thus minimize the percentage of rejects. Regardless of the tasks of automation, the result is always the same: price reduction of a particular product is accompanied by an increase in the price of an error.
«The manufacture of solar modules is a complex, multi-step process involving precise equipment. For example, vacuum deposition systems are sensitive to the quality of power supply. Even a small power surge at best causes equipment malfunction and the rejection of practically finished products. In the worst case, poor-quality power supply can lead to machinery breakdown. Therefore, for us, as an industrial consumer of energy, the quality of power supply takes the first place,» says Anton Usachev, Deputy General Director of Hevel, the largest manufacturer of solar modules in Europe.
Uninterruptible power supply units are devices that were not new in the industry. Historically they had a number of limitations and were therefore used in a small set of solutions. For example, traditional lead-acid batteries do not withstand more than 500 charge-discharge cycles and require replacement after several years of operation. To prevent failures on powerful and at the same time sensitive equipment, such drives need to be installed with a serious reserve - from 10 to 30%. The other side of the battery is low current efficiency, as a result, a large weight and size of the drive, heating under intensive operating conditions and release of explosive hydrogen during the electrolysis of water in the electrolyte. Because of this, these sources are quite demanding for maintenance and infrastructure (the room must be heated and ventilated). Not every production could afford such investments.
«The whole world is trying to improve energy storage and accumulation technologies. But due to the fact that the materials known today have approached the boundary of their efficiency, and fundamentally new electrode-electrolyte structures have not yet been created, it can be said that the existing types of storage devices have reached their maximum capabilities and characteristics. Therefore, the main work is carried out in the field of improving technologies and cheapening the production of storage devices, as well as in the field of creating combined systems to solve industry problems. Our company TEEMP has its own technology for the production of highly efficient supercapacitors, which we consider to be indispensable in power engineering and electric transport. They can significantly expand the capabilities and functionality of uninterruptible power systems, improve the quality of power supply, increase reliability and extend the useful life of energy storage and storage systems,» says Sergey Kurilov, general director of TEEMP, the Russian developer and manufacturer of super- capacitors“.
The supercapacitor falls in between the well-known batteries and the capacitors common for radio engineers. The prefix "super" they owe due to more greater capacity than the analog devices. At the same time, unlike batteries, energy accumulation in the supercapacitors takes place without any chemical reactions, due to formation of an electrical double layer on the electrode surface, i.e. electrostatically. As a result, supercapacitors have a number of major advantages, in particular, a huge resource and resistance to aggressive operating conditions.
«The main task of the backup power system is to protect equipment, the company's most valuable asset. A well-designed solution allows you to successfully deal with dips, imbalances and voltage fluctuations, pulsed bursts, noise and harmonic distortion - all that threatens the stable operation of modern and demanding power quality installations. At the same time, the main obstacle to the widespread introduction of such systems, the performance characteristics of energy storage devices, is now disappearing,» says Yevgeny Lipkin, CEO of Ostek-SMT, the supplier of UPS for industry.
For several years, TEEMP has been carrying out life tests of supercapacitor cells. According to the latest data, for 1 million charge-discharge cycles, the cell loses an insignificant part of its capacity, about 10%. During “failure” tests, supercapacitors also proved to be quite good: for cells with a capacity of 3000 F, the maximum current exceeded 10,000 A, and the absolute record — 32,000 A. At the same time, tests with currents above the short circuit level did not affect the integrity of the cell, but also did not brought it out of action.
It was possible to achieve such indicators of the company with the help of domestic developments. The cathode material created by the order of the TEEMP in NITU «MISiS» is a long and thin carbon rods of a given size and density. With high strength, such «lace» has a large specific surface area, which increases the storage capacity of the drive. The use of organic electrolytes made TEEMP supercapacitors insensitive to frost - they work effectively at - 65 ° C. This means that an uninterruptible power supply system based on such drives can be installed in an unheated room, and in case of overloads it will not emit explosive hydrogen.
«For high-tech industries, the quality of energy supply is an extremely sensitive issue. Historically, depending on the potential damage, the problem was solved in various ways - somewhere they reserved power or installed traditional uninterruptible power supplies. In some cases, the low quality of the power supply was first ignored, and then fixed losses and turned to specialists. Today, when industrial UPSs based on supercapacitors are becoming more affordable (technologically and financially), we expect them to be widely distributed. After all, the problem has not gone anywhere - just solving it becomes easier and cheaper,» concludes Evgeny Lipkin.
Nadezhda Kupriyanova, «Energy and Industry of Russia»